EFFector Online 5.06 - April 16, 1993 - Initial EF
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EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 6 4/16/1993 email@example.com
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In this issue:
Initial EFF Analysis of Clinton Privacy and Security Proposal
Society for Electronic Access: A New York City-based
grassroots online activist group.
Updated Contact List for Regional Online Activist Groups
April 16, 1993
INITIAL EFF ANALYSIS OF CLINTON PRIVACY AND SECURITY
The Clinton Administration today made a major announcement
on cryptography policy which will effect the privacy and security of
millions of Americans. The first part of the plan is to begin a
comprehensive inquiry into major communications privacy issues
such as export controls which have effectively denied most people
easy access to robust encryption as well as law enforcement issues
posed by new technology.
However, EFF is very concerned that the Administration has
already reached a conclusion on one critical part of the inquiry, before
any public comment or discussion has been allowed. Apparently, the
Administration is going to use its leverage to get all telephone
equipment vendors to adopt a voice encryption standard developed
by the National Security Agency. The so-called "Clipper Chip" is an
80-bit, split key escrowed encryption scheme which will be built into
chips manufactured by a military contractor. Two separate escrow
agents would store users' keys, and be required to turn them over
law enforcement upon presentation of a valid warrant. The
encryption scheme used is to be classified, but they chips will be
available to any manufacturer for incorporation into their
This proposal raises a number of serious concerns .
First, the Administration appears to be adopting a solution
before conducting an inquiry. The NSA-developed Clipper chip may
not be the most secure product. Other vendors or developers may
have better schemes. Furthermore, we should not rely on the
government as the sole source for Clipper or any other chips. Rather,
independent chip manufacturers should be able to produce chipsets
based on open standards.
Second, an algorithm can not be trusted unless it can be tested.
Yet the Administration proposes to keep the chip algorithm
classified. EFF believes that any standard adopted ought to be public
and open. The public will only have confidence in the security of a
standard that is open to independent, expert scrutiny.
Third, while the use of the split-key, dual-escrowed
system may prove to be a reasonable balance between privacy and
law enforcement needs, the details of this scheme must be explored
publicly before it is adopted. What will give people confidence in the
safety of their keys? Does disclosure of keys to a third party waive
individual's fifth amendment rights in subsequent criminal
In sum, the Administration has shown great sensitivity to the
importance of these issues by planning a comprehensive inquiry into
digital privacy and security. However, the "Clipper chip" solution
ought to be considered as part of the inquiry, not be adopted before
the discussion even begins.
DETAILS OF THE PROPOSAL:
The 80-bit key will be divided between two escrow agents, each of
whom hold 40 bits of each key. Upon presentation of a valid
warrant, the two escrow agents would have to turn the key parts
over to law enforcement agents. Most likely the Attorney General
will be asked to identify appropriate escrow agents. Some in the
Administration have suggested one non-law enforcement federal
agency, perhaps the Federal Reserve, and one non-governmental
organization. But, there is no agreement on the identity of the agents
Key registration would be done by the manufacturer of the
communications device. A key is tied to the device, not to the person
CLASSIFIED ALGORITHM AND THE POSSIBILITY OF BACK DOORS
The Administration claims that there are no back door means by
which the government or others could break the code without
securing keys from the escrow agents and that the President will
be told there are no back doors to this classified algorithm. In order
to prove this, Administration sources are interested in arranging for
an all-star crypto cracker team to come in, under a security
arrangement, and examine the algorithm for trap doors. The results
of the investigation would then be made public.
GOVERNMENT AS MARKET DRIVER
In order to get a market moving, and to show that the government
believes in the security of this system, the feds will be the first big
customers for this product. Users will include the FBI, Secret Service,
VP Al Gore, and maybe even the President.
FROM MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jerry Berman, Executive Director
Daniel J. Weitzner, Senior Staff Counsel
[EFFector Online will regularly feature a regional grassroots group
of telecommunications activists describing themselves and their
The Society for Electronic Access
By Steve Barber
The Society for Electronic Access ("SEA") is an organization of
people who are concerned with establishing and preserving civil
rights in cyberspace and with promoting public access to computer-
based information systems. The SEA is a regionally-based group,
centered in New York City, though we have members in other parts
of New York State and northern New Jersey. We like to think of
ourselves as covering the "New York City metropolitan area."
The SEA first met in August 1992 in borrowed space somewhere
on the New York University campus. We were a group of folks who
were vaguely, variously, and intensely interested in the issues posed
by the cyberspace/real-world interface, with a strong interest in
becoming the New York chapter of the EFF. Over the course of the
next six months, the issue of EFF affiliation dominated group
discussions. Some might say "paralyzed." Some found loose analogies
to Beckett's "Waiting for Godot." Finally, of course, the EFF announced
that there would be no chapters. This announcement caused some
minor disappointment, but on the whole it was liberating for the
group. In short order, we had projects, results, and even a name.
The SEA membership has adopted the following statement
of purpose, which is an excellent description of what we are, what we
are becoming, and what we want to be:
The purpose of SEA is to help make our corner of cyberspace a
civilized place to live, work, and visit. We believe that the world
of computers and the communications links that bind their users
together should be open to everyone. Furthermore, if this new
medium is to have a chance of fulfilling its great potential, the
same civil rights that protect our freedom in the physical world
must prevail in cyberspace.
Therefore, SEA will work to educate people about computer
networks and how to use them to find information and to
communicate with one another. We will also reach out to computer
users, government officials, legislators and the media to foster better
understanding of cyberspace and to ensure that laws are written and
enforced to enhance individual rights rather than to curtail them.
Finally, we will do our best to bring into cyberspace those who might
not otherwise have the opportunity or awareness to make use of it,
in the belief that doing so will enrich our lives as well as theirs.
The SEA operates in two modes: through a set of mailing lists,
and through approximately monthly face-to-face meetings. While a
cyberspace activist group ought to be able to meet effectively in
cyberspace itself, our experience is that no consensus is achieved via
a mailing list discussion, and no decisions get made this way. I'm not
sure whether this is because of the asynchronicity of e-mail or
merely because of the low bandwidth of e-mail, but the face-to-face
gatherings are vital. This necessity for face-to-face interaction is one
of the bases for our regional orientation.
Even though the SEA just started accepting paid memberships, at
present all our meetings and electronic mail lists are open to anyone.
We have had various EFF personages drop by, as well as emissaries
from other groups with similar interest to ours from around the country.
The formal meetings are often followed informal ones in convivial
locations throughout Manhattan.
As is apparent from our mission statement, the SEA has a
number of goals. The interest in civil rights has expressed itself
through our legal interest group. Most recently, in what was perhaps
SEA's first public action, we submitted a comment to the United
States Sentencing Commission opposing the proposed sentencing
guidelines on computer fraud and abuse. Other projects covering the
legal side of cyberspace include the compilation of data on local
government officials, and monitoring state and local regulatory
activities that affect networks and BBSs.
SEA's goal of encouraging public access to the computer
networks and other manifestations of cyberspace is being addressed
by promoting ourselves as a clearinghouse for cyberspace resources
in the region. Our purpose is to bring people together who are
interested in working on access projects. SEA has served as a catalyst
for hooking up people interested in, for example, producing
educational videos on Internet access and use, and for finding system
operators willing to donate resources for an organization called
Playing To Win that provides computer access to residents of one of
New York City's more disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The wonderful thing about the SEA is that so far it is entirely a
volunteer operation. We exist in borrowed space, both real and
virtual. Our only real resource is the enthusiasm of our members.
The greatest advantage to being located in New York City is that the
available talent here is varied and seemingly limitless. We are
blessed with a number of people who make their living in
cyberspace, and to whom the issues the SEA addresses makes a
difference in their daily lives. Just to highlight a few of our people,
there is Stacy Horn, who runs the ECHO computer conferencing
system and has expended great effort into bringing more women into
cyberspace. Lance Rose is an attorney who specializes in computer
and BBS law and writes a monthly column on legal matters in
Boardwatch magazine. Alexis Rosen is co-owner and operator of
Panix, a commercial public access Internet host (Panix also donates
lots of resources to the SEA). John McMullen is a journalist who is
responsible in large part for the NewsBytes electronic computer news
service. Bruce Fancher and other founders of the Mindvox system
have been active in SEA projects. Clay Shirky, who drafted our
sentencing guideline comments, is an experienced activist. Joe King
co-hosts a weekly computer radio show on WBAI-FM. Paul Wallich
writes for Scientific American. All of these folks and others I don't
have room to mention make for an exciting mix of system operators,
journalists, lawyers and law students, hackers and even an accused
cracker or two, librarians, activists, and other assorted cyberspace
denizens that gives the SEA a broad base of experience and expertise.
Other current and projected projects include educational
seminars, a media watch, a local calendar of events, and more
involvement in the legislative and regulatory process.
SEA has an effective presence on the Internet via our mailing
lists and through the SEA information hierarchy at gopher.panix.com
that provides public access to our archives. We are trying to reach
out to the BBS community and the vast number of users of the large
For more information on the SEA or to be added to our mailing
lists, please contact us by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or U.S.
Society for Electronic Access
Post Office Box 3131
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008-3131
Local and Regional Groups Supporting the Online Community
For those readers interested in hooking up with regional groups that
are organized to work on projects to improve online communications,
feel free to contact any of the folks listed below with your ideas and
to learn more about how you can get involved.
We are constantly looking to update this list, so if you know of other
groups that we should add, or if you are trying to form a group in
your local area, please forward the name of the group and contact
information to Shari Steele at email@example.com.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Shari Steele ? firstname.lastname@example.org
Cliff Figallo ? email@example.com
Matt Midboe firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco Bay Area:
Mitch Ratcliffe email@example.com or
Glenn Tenney firstname.lastname@example.org
Judi Clark email@example.com
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington, DC, Area:
"Group 2600" and some public access operators
Bob Stratton firstname.lastname@example.org
Mikki Barry email@example.com
Cambridge and Boston area
EF128 (Electronic Frontier Route 128).
Lars Kaufman firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Arbor Computer Society & others
Ed Vielmetti email@example.com
msen gopher gopher.msen.com
msen mail list firstname.lastname@example.org "info aacs"
Gulf Coast, Mississippi
PO Box 573
Long Beach, MS 39560
Local chapter with chapters in Alaska, Orlando Florida, Atlanta
Georgia, Mobile Alabama, Montgomery Alabama, Oxford Miss,
California, Ocean Springs Miss, and other locations.
IndraNet (formerly FreeNet!, a FTN network) and NitV Data
contact: Stanton McCandlish
BBS (1200-14400, v32/v32b/v42/v42b, N-1-8, 24hr)
+1-505-246-8515 Voice +1-505-247-3402
Snail: 8020 Central SE #405, Albuquerque, NM 87108 USA
Interests: positive networking, pro-BBS and pro-computer-
freedom activism; FFFREE BBS serves as a site to obtain EFF
and other such material for those without access to
Internet, and supports a rapidly expanding library of
electronic publications. Live free, compute free!
Greater Kansas City Sysop Association
Scott Lent email@example.com
P.O. Box 14480
Parkville, MO 64152
Phone: (816)734-2949 (voice)
New York City:
Society for Electronic Access (SEA)
Post Office Box 3131
Church Street Station
New York, NY, 10008-3131
Simona Nass firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexis Rosen email@example.com
Western New York State
Thomas J. Klotzbach
Genesee Community College
Batavia, NY 14020
MCI Mail: 375 1365
Work: (716) 343-0055 x358
Jon Lebkowsky firstname.lastname@example.org
EFFector Online is published by
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
666 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20003
Phone: +1 202 544-9237 FAX: +1 202 547 5481
Internet Address: email@example.com
Coordination, production and shipping by Cliff Figallo, EFF
Online Communications Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
Signed articles do not necessarily represent the view of the EFF.
To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors
for their express permission.
*This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons*
MEMBERSHIP IN THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
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But with us, member privacy is the default. This means that you
must actively grant us permission to share your name with other
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do not wish your membership disclosed to any group for any reason.
Mail to: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc.
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